Protection of Bunker Tanks - INTERTANKO/SNAME Submission to IMO

INTERTANKO, on behalf of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers’ (SNAME), has submitted to IMO’s Design and Equipment (DE) Sub-Committee an information paper which summarizes the initial work of the SNAME’s Ad-Hoc Panel on the Evaluation of Accidental Oil Spills from Bunker Tanks.

This primarily involved drafting a performance based approach for assessing outflow from bunker tanks and then applying the approach to a number of existing vessels. Click hereto download a copy to the INTERTANKO submission.

IMO has already decided to develop regulations to require that the bunker tanks of newly built ships should have better protection against damage from contact accidents. The issue is being dealt with by the DE Sub-Committee, which meets again in March next year. It is also important to note that, not so long ago, the US Congress issued a note to the Secretary of Transportation on the “elimination of single hulls over bunker tanks” as follows:


The Secretary of Transportation shall propose to and seek to negotiate at the International Maritime Organization the elimination of single hull bunker tanks on commercial vessels capable of carrying more than 1,000 barrels of fuel on board. The proposal shall include (1) a requirement prohibiting the operation of any such vessel built after January 1, 2004, that has a single hull bunker tank; and (2) a phase-out schedule for such vessels built before that date that have a single hull bunker tank."

The above text formed part of the Maritime Safety Act 2000 as introduced to the House of Representatives on 27 July 2000. Click here to view a copy of the full text of the Act.

INTERTANKO has been involved in this process through its Bunker Sub-Committee and Safety, Technical and Environmental Committee. These committees endorsed the view that the most efficient rulemaking for bunker tank protection would be a model based on an indexing of the bunker oil outflow expectancy. The proposal is based on a probabilistic methodology of risk of the damage, damage extent and location of the bunker tanks. The submission to IMO gives an outline of that methodology. The SNAME work will be completed next year. We hope that the concept developed by SNAME will be acceptable to IMO and Governments.

Contact: Dragos Rauta, mailto: e-mail: